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Priestly family papers

Call Number: RH MS 249


William Priestly and his wife, Ellen, settled in Lawrence, Kansas area in the early 1870s; together they had nine children. This collection contains family correspondence from 1890-1920, and some personal records, including Civil War quartermaster reports filed by William Priestly.


  • 1833 - 1945


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of the Priestly Family

William Priestly (c. 1827-1898). Arrived in Lawrence, Kansas around 1871 or 1872 from Ohio and Indiana. He is registered in the city directories as both a farmer and a lawyer and had homes in both Lawrence and Baldwin City, moving back to Baldwin during the summer months. He also served as a quartermaster during the Civil War. He married Ellen Lingo on Oct. 9, 1855 in Noble County, Ohio. They had nine children: Lane, Joseph, Nellie, Will, George, Carrie, John, James, and Gertrude. Ellen (Lingo) Priestly. The date of Ellen's birth is not known, she died around 1916. Lane Priestly: b.1858 in Sarahsville, Ohio. d. August 21, 1860 Joseph Priestly: b. 1860 in Caldwell, Ohio. Attended the University of Kansas. Died in South America, possibly of yellow fever around 1880. Nellie Priestly Bean: b. 1863 in Caldwell, Ohio. d. January 2, 1953. She married Dr. James Bean and they had no children. They spent much of their time in Alaska. Will ("Willie") Priestly b. 1866 near Columbus, Ohio. d. January 1946 in New York. Will married Anna Freeborn in 1905, they did not have any children. He was a farmer and consulting engineer. George Priestly: b. 1868 in Delaware, Indiana. d. 1942. He married Nellie Boicourt and they had three children: Joseph (died of diphtheria as an infant); Willard (m. Rose, d. 1979); Dorothy (m. J.D. Stokes, had two children, Jimmy and Ann). Nellie (Boicourt) Priestly died around 1909. George was an accountant for a mining firm in Canada. Carrie Priestly Yates b. 1871 in either Lawrence or Baldwin City. d. 1908. Her full name was Carolina. Carrie attended KU and received a degree in 1892 in pharmacy. She worked as a pharmacist in Yates Pharmacy in Latham, Ks. She married Frank Yates in 1903 and had a daughter Nellie in 1906 (in Lawrence). Carried died supposedly of a tubular pregnancy and Frank remarried (Louise in 1912). Carrie and Frank's daughter, Nellie married James ("Jew") Willis Holmes (b. April 24, 1903 in Pleasanton, Kansas. d. November 2, 1955). John Priestly: b. 1873 in Lawrence or Baldwin City. d. April 22, 1874. James Priestly: b. c.1878 in Lawrence or Baldwin City. d. 1924. He graduated from KU in 1900 with a degree in engineering. He worked as an engineer (for a time in South America) and as an architect. He married Jessie, they had no children. Gertrude ("Dewey") Frances Priestly b. September 1, 1880 in Lawrence. d. June 9, 1971. Gertrude lived at the family home in Lawrence all her life. She graduated from KU in 1906 and never married. She was a schoolteacher.


2.5 Linear Feet (3 boxes, + 2 oversize items)

Scope and Contents

The Priestly family collection is composed primarily of correspondence between family members and friends. The correspondence relates the activities and thoughts of a family in Lawrence, Kansas, during the turn-of-the-century as the bulk of the correspondence dates from 1890 through 1920. The collection also contains quartermaster reports filed by William Priestly during the Civil War, stories written by Anna Freeborn Priestly and personal financial materials for some members in the family. A partial family tree has been constructed based on information found in the papers.

Physical Location

RH MS 249

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, H. Robert Malinowsky, March 1972


ksrl.kc.priestlyfamilyfamilytree.ead.pdf for Priestly family tree diagram.

Guide to the Priestly Family Collection
Priestly family papers
lt 8/82 ; mg 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid writtenin<language> English.</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Priestly Family Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 259, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States